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Illustration by Liene Magdalēna

Leaving the Saadiyat Bubble

Capstone, job search, grad school applications. Seniors seemed to be overwhelmed with tasks that they are racing to accomplish before the semester ends. What is it like to deal with all of these issues and what are their more pressing concerns?

Feb 16, 2019

NYU Abu Dhabi’s Class of 2019 is graduating this May. With graduation creeping up on them, seniors are racing to finish their capstones and fulfil their graduation requirements. However, those are not the only things on their plate right now. Filling forms for graduate school applications, writing personal statements and applying for jobs have become an almost daily task for most of the graduating class.
For Andrew Wani Samuel Modi, Class of 2019, who is currently looking for job opportunities and is planning to attend the Opportunities Fair on Feb. 17, the senior year experience has been fun, beautiful and scary all at the same time.
“Knowing that I will be graduating soon is amazing because it will be a huge achievement,” shares Modi, “however, the process of finding a job comes with a lot of stress because everyone else is striving for the same opportunities.”
Modi has mixed feelings about life after NYUAD. “Right now I have the opportunities of travelling and having a good time, when NYUAD is covering all my academic needs and my family covering my other needs. But after graduation, I have to start being responsible for myself, take care of most of my needs. That in itself is very scary.”
Senior year has been busier for Modi who, unlike previous semesters, has classes almost every day of the week. His free time outside of academics is occupied by looking for job opportunities, meeting professors for career advice and capstoning. “I want to establish myself,” said Modi who is studying film. “I have been spending almost my entire life from childhood up to now doing academics, so I want to experience the other side of life, get to work and make some money.”
For others, senior year has been all about trying new things before they graduate to make the best out of their last semester. “I certainly think that there is some level of stress when it comes to realizing that all these opportunities will fade very soon, so I think as a senior you realize more things that you haven’t done while being here,” said Raitis Pekuss, Class of 2019. Pekuss notes how a lot of seniors have joined more Student Interest Groups to explore new areas of interest, including himself who recently joined the Debate SIG. Like many others from the Class of 2019, Pekuss feels pressured to embrace all these opportunities and make the most out of them before graduating.
Pekuss, who is majoring in Civil Engineering, is currently facing a dilemma. He is deciding between staying in academia or going into the industry. With a humorous tone, he added, “I might also opt for crashing [on] my mom’s couch; she just got a new one and it looks very comfortable.”
Nevertheless, Pekuss is excited about the journey ahead. He wishes to test his skills in the real world, applying his knowledge of engineering to make a positive impact in the world and challenge himself in a setting other than NYUAD. “Certainly, the lack of meal swipes would be a big stressing point, but otherwise I am looking forward to what comes next,” added Pekuss.
“Being a senior will always mean dealing with a lot,” shares Tami Gjorgjieva, Class of 2019, President of Student Government and a Biology major. “... you have your classes, your capstone, extracurriculars and especially because a lot of us decide to take on these leadership positions in the university being the most experienced people and being passionate to make a change before we leave.”
However, Gjorgjieva highlights the importance of navigating expectations from others and from oneself. “One of the things that’s hardest as a senior is to be able to turn off all of these other roles that you have while you are doing something so that you can fully focus,” Gjorgjieva added. She tries to create boundaries between her work life and her private life by actively trying not to bring any work home. “Home is a space that I use to hang out with my friends and roommates and so I try to contain my capstone work between the lab and the library. I try to contain the Student Government work between the office and the spaces around campus,” shared Gjorgjieva.
Gjorgjieva laments over leaving NYUAD this May as it won’t be easy for her. She admits that she was ready to leave last semester, however as she returned from Macedonia this winter break, she no longer feels so. “I am already starting to feel nostalgic just thinking about the future ahead, and I think that nostalgia is in multiple levels. One obviously is the physical space of the campus and all the memories that it carries with it. But the biggest part is just the people,” said Tami with a broken voice.
Nevertheless, Gjorgjieva, who sees herself working in genomics and grappling with ideas between personalized medicine and genetic regulations in the future, is excited about the journey ahead.
“I think NYUAD was such an exciting journey. Can you imagine what the rest of your life is going to be like? Having all the lessons you have learned from NYUAD, taking them and applying them to the real world,” said Gjorgjieva. She is hopeful that the journey after NYUAD is going to be exciting and she cannot wait to see what everyone is going to make out of that.
Senior year is both a stressful and exciting time as students explore the potential paths their lives may take as their time at NYUAD comes to an end.
Chhete Sherpa is a staff writer. Email him at
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